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Is Skydemon a valid replacement for charts?


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BCS112
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Hi all,

If this topic has been dealt with before then my apologies for re-posting, please point me to the relevant forum topic in that case.

As you all know Jeppesen has stopped selling the paper charts that many of us have used over the years for flying throughout Europe. Since these are no longer available there seems to be no (easy) way to get hold of charts in different countries to use for VFR navigation.

I am planning a flight from Oostende in Belgium to Catania in Sicily in a few weeks through Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, France, Switzerland, Corsica and Italy so I am in desperate need of a good APP that will allow me to fly these 1500 to 2000NM in full confidence that I will be correctly informed about airspace location and restrictions and not make any infringements into forbidden area's etc...

Is Skydemon an APP that will allow me to do so?

While going through the forums I noticed that there was some concern by some users about visual reference points being in the wrong location on the maps, especially when flying in unfamiliar areas, this can be an issue since we are flying visually after all and airport location and entry points are often linked to visual features.

Any feedback on the legal position of the software and data used (is the software in any way validated to make sure that the information is accurate?) and some feedback from current users would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Björn
Tim Dawson
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There are no known problems with the aeronautical information presented in SkyDemon, and it should give you all the information you need that you might otherwise have got from various paper charts.

You would need to check the legal requirements in the countries (and districts) overflown as to whether electronic charts are a legal substitute for paper charts. This has nothing to do with SkyDemon specifically.
RobinHood
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Hi,

i asked this question to the german LBA on the AERO fair.
They replied (more or less) that the user has to assure that program and battery works. If the software/program provider disclaims that the software is not intended to be the only source for planning, it's not legal. The data is not needed to be certified, but the software/program provider. Every VALID chart can be used.
As far as I understand SD and there disclaimer are the SD-Charts valid (if the lastest update is loaded to your device)

Here is their original reply (German only):

Sehr geehrter Herr Seidelmann,

vielen Dank für Ihre Anfrage auf der AERO. Folgendes können wir Ihnen dazu mitteilen:

Ausgehend von Ihrer Frage nach der Zulässigkeit von Kartenmaterial möchten wir Ihnen an dieser Stelle den „Weg“ der Luftfahrtkarten einmal aufzeichnen.

Grundlage für die Erstellung und Veröffentlichung von Luftfahrtkarten ist der ICAO Annex 4 „Aeronautical Charts“. Diesen umzusetzen hat sich die Bundesrepublik Deutschland verpflichtet.

Nach § 31b des Luftverkehrsgesetzes (LuftVG) hat das Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur (BMVI), im Text noch in der alten Bezeichnung BMVBS, eine Flugsicherungsorganisation in Form einer Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, deren Anteile ausschließlich vom Bund gehalten werden, beauftragt. Namentlich ist das die Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS). Nach § 27c Absatz 2 Satz 1 LuftVG fallen darunter die Fluginformationsdienste, was auch die Luftfahrtkarten beinhaltet. Einzelheiten darüber sind im Luftfahrthandbuch Deutschland (AIP), Kapitel GEN 3.2 „Luftfahrtkarten“ dargestellt.

All dies sind Karten, die die Bundesrepublik Deutschland veröffentlichen MUSS und dies über die DFS tut.

Eine Rückfrage bei Herrn Wiethaupt, dem Leiter des Sachgebiets Luftfahrtkarten bei der DFS ergab, dass aber grundsätzlich JEDER Luftfahrtkarten erstellen und vertreiben darf. Es muss lediglich gewährleistet sein, dass die Daten korrekt sind.

Das Bundesaufsichtsamt für Flugsicherung (BAF), das im Bereich der Luftfahrtkarten (im Gegensatz zum Luftfahrt-Bundesamt) zuständig ist, verlangt von allen Herstellern eine ISO-Zertifizierung. Näheres erfahren sie dort im Referat SOP. Diesbezüglich sollten Sie bei der Pressestelle des BAF, Frau Kerstin Weber, Tel, 06103/8043-145, E-Mail: Kerstin.Weber @baf.bund.de , nachfragen.

Zurückkommend auf Ihre Frage bedeutet dies nun, dass Sie auch eine Jeppesen-Karte nutzen können, wenn diese aktuell ist. Allerdings werden Fehler in der Karte nicht über NOTAMs berichtigt werden können. Bei der Nutzung einer App müssen Sie natürlich sicherstellen, dass weder das Programm noch der Akku Sie im Stich lassen. Wenn ein Hersteller von sich aus schon darstellt, dass das Material nicht für die Planung geeignet ist, dürfen Sie es natürlich nicht als alleinige Planungsgrundlage verwenden. Was bei SkyDemon mit „offiziell“ gemeint ist, vermögen wir nicht zu beurteilen.

Fazit:

Eine Zulassung der Karte gibt es nicht, nur eine Zertifizierung des Herstellers. Wenn nicht anders bezeichnet, darf ein Pilot jede GÜLTIGE Karte für die Planung nutzen. Jeppesen kann Karten alternativ zur DFS anbieten, weil sie ähnlichen Aufwand bei der Erstellung und Pflege betreiben, das könnte theoretisch aber jeder. Zuständig ist aber nicht das LBA, sondern das BAF.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Im Auftrag


Cornelia Cramer

Luftfahrt-Bundesamt

Leiterin Sachgebiet SBl 3 Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit/Notfall- und

Krisenmanagement/ Projektkoordination

38144 Braunschweig

Tel: + 49 / 5 31/ 23 55 - 1130 Fax: + 49 / 5 31 / 23 55 - 1199

E-Mail: Cornelia.Cramer@lba.de

Internet: www.lba.de



Best regards,
Robin Seidelmann

secosu | Consulting & Support
Experts for ERP-Evaluation & ERP-Implementation projects in Europe


Edited 4/29/2014 3:36:29 PM by RobinHood
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While going through the forums I noticed that there was some concern by some users about visual reference points being in the wrong location on the maps, especially when flying in unfamiliar areas, this can be an issue since we are flying visually after all and airport location and entry points are often linked to visual features.
There is no concern about the VRPs being in the wrong location. The concern is about the base maps, which frequently are less accurate than you would wish.

If you are navigating with visual references and a VRP is defined by visual features, it doesn't help much if it is correctly located but the visual features concerned are in the wrong place! If a motorway crossing is on the wrong side of a railway, it can cause a lot of confusion in the cockpit even if the error is only 1 km or so.

Personally I don't feel comfortable navigating using the SkyDemon maps. Georeferenced approach plates are another matter!


Of course if you are blindly following the magenta line on a GPS device it doesn't matter much. Wink
paperflyer
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Further to the discussion regarding the legality of charts. I too am in the same position as BCS112. A new flying season is upon us and to have consistency of cross boarder flying, i thought, yep, back to the Jepessen shop for me. There's nothing wrong with the DFS German charts and the VFR 500 they are producing, in order to capture the market and promote DFS products. However, considering when you need to buy 6 charts for Germany alone, as opposed to 4 max from Jepessen, there's a disparity in price. I know, flying is not a cheap hobby, and i shouldn't be concerned about a few Euro's here or there, but it's the principal of it, all. I just feel that the German charts, are more of a 'rip-off', besides, i personally prefer the Jepessen format and overall consistency.

So now to the point regarding the legality aspects, during training i was led to believe that, good airmanship and a legal requirement was to have proper flight planning and that the only 'allowed' source of charts were officially produce ICAO charts. Whether from DFS, or Jepessen, or whomever. Or in more sophisticated aircraft a certified electronic form of the chart's such as Garmin 1000 series, or Avidyne etc. (Also note that even Garmin make a claim that even though their databases such as used in Garmin 430 in a VFR sense should not be used as a sole means of navigation - a disclaimer). However these certified hardware/software/database combo's are exactly that, certified and ratified by the legal authorities in question, EASA being the predominant authority in Europe.



Now i have a concern, and this is not meant as a reflection on Sky Demon, that there is a tendency to use tablet devices, from a consumer environment in the aviation sector, where we all know that, certification of the product is most likely the largest proportion of the costs to the hardware than the hardware itself. I am sure the tablet manufactures themselves, wouldn't stump up the costs in order to perform these certification aspects. So let's say for a minute that we can over come the hardware issues, as highlighted by RobinHood that the LBA at least say that the user has to ensure operation of the device. This leads us to the aspect of the underlying charts/database/software certification. Sky demon themselves quote in their FAQ's

This looks great! Can I throw away my charts now?

Not necessarily. This software is intended to be used as an aid for planning and as an aid while flying and it does not replace any of your primary tools or cockpit instruments. We're not certified by the CAA or any other governing body, and neither is our data. Local regulations might mandate the carrying of a particular paper chart.

You should always check any calculations and data displayed, and suggestions made, against your own calculations and charts.

so that then leaves us, the pilots/users in an quandary. What do we use? Are we 'allowed' to use only the electronic charts on a non-certified hardware device? How certain are we that the underlying charts/database/software is accurate and reliable? Again, this is no reflection directed solely at Sky Demon despite their disclaimer, i also had the same questions about the Jepessen electronic equivalent to Sky Demon, (which was more expensive to use and maintain i might add). If there are no guarantees that the database charts are accurate, then does that mean i still have to purchase the paper charts, to stay 'legal', even if i would never use them for actual 'planning'. Admittedly, the functionality and ease that i have seen in the trial version of Sky Demon approach is very impressive. (Although, I am a Mac user, so can only use the web based version, and my iPad, is a version one, so no longer supports iOS 6, which is what is required for operation. It runs perfectly well on my iPhone, however, the screen is somewhat too small for long term usage and ease of use).

It might seem a minor point of legality, however, it's an important issue that needs to be addressed. I have nothing against new innovations, and technology to make flying easier and more comfortable. In fact I'm an advocate of it. However, there is that little nagging feeling in the back of my head, that if i fly without a paper based 'back-up', and only use reference to the electronic chart means (whomever is the provider), then am i automatically invalidating my insurance as soon as i move 'off-block'?

Perhaps there are some out there, even Sky Demon themselves, that could clarify this issue. I understand that, Sky Demon, need to make their disclaimers, i don't have an problem with that, as they too have a limited liability arrangement. Is it sufficient, to fly electronically? Is it it sufficient, in light of the LBA at least from RobinHood to use a database from a provider if they are certified as a company and the base maps are certified, even if the hardware or software is not?

Apologies for the long post, but i'd like to get things clarified and make and informed decision before i go down the electronic charting route. (It might mean i'd have to invest in a new iPad and run windows my mac); Or just suffer it and purchase the multitude of nationally issued charts and the varying differences that they invite, despite, most claiming they follow ICAO 'guidelines'.

thanks
Edited 5/8/2014 12:13:19 PM by paperflyer
Tim Dawson
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I doubt we can shed any more light on the issue than we have already attempted to do, but here are a few points which may help.

1. There is no such thing as a certified map.

2. A Jeppesen paper chart is as legal as one you've drawn yourself on a piece of paper using a pencil. Both will be imperfect.

3. The aeronautical laws in most countries state only that you carry enough information to conduct your flight safely. Which chart(s) you carry is your decision.

4. The main outstanding question is whether some states accept electronic versions of charts as a suitable replacement for paper. Obviously, over time, the inevitable answer to that question will be yes. But as we all know, it takes longer for technology to reach some areas than others.

5. We put a huge amount of effort into ensuring that the aeronautical data in our charts is compiled with meticulous attention to detail. No charts are perfect, though. In the UK, which is still our largest market, there are occasionally discrepancies pointed out between the ICAO paper chart and ours. In more cases than not, it is our chart which is correct. We eliminate a large class of errors by eliminating the cartographer's manual work and building vector charts from raw aeronautical data.
paperflyer
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Tim

Perhaps, the way my post sounded was like an 'attack' on SD, that was not my intention at all, and nothing to aim at the quality of SD charts etc. So my apologies if this was the way my post was seen. I was more concerned with the 'legality' issues, especially here in Germany where the 'legal' aspects abound more than common sense than if it's actually correct. But that is for another discussion.

So, if i understand this correctly, essentially, there is no way of knowing, which chart is 'correct'? Again i pre-suppose that any chart, even, electronic ones, are already out of data as soon as they are issued as things change constantly etc. (Again, not attacking the correctness or accuracy of SD charts specifically)

Please don't get me wrong, i am an advocate of using technology and the obviously 'up-to-date' benefits it affords. I mean after all, using a chart that is 11 months old until the latest year chart is published is, still 11 months old and technically out of date. Based on this thought, and i should have thought of it sooner, is that any paper chart is also un-certified and 'un-legal' (i use this word instead of illegal on purpose to present a feeling of legality due to out-of-dateness - rather than against the law).

However, i do find the whole debate very curious in this modern flying world of certifications and legalities, and yet one major area seems a little grey to me. One i might start to investigate a little further in the background.

Again, thanks for your feedback, i might just now, re-look at getting a new iPad for the electronic charts offered by SD as a really viable alternative.
Edited 5/10/2014 10:16:37 AM by paperflyer
Tim Dawson
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I did not interpret your previous post as an attack at all. Like you I am keen that everyone should know what is legal and what is not, but at the end of the day, that will be up to a court to decide in some areas.

You're certainly correct that paper charts are out of date as soon as you have them. SkyDemon data is correct in that sense, because we release new charts every 28 days, the exact same schedule upon which the aeronautical data changes. SkyDemon charts should be as correct as it's possible for a chart to be.
ckurz7000
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I think it would go a ways toward having SD being accepted as legal replacement during a ramp check if you could re-word the disclaimer shown when starting up. I know it is some legal tightrope walk but maybe you could simply state what SD is. Meaning, you could say that SD's charts are an electronic representation of officially released and publicly available data taken from national AIPs. Similarly, with terrain data and base map data sources. You could then go on to say that it is up to the user/pilot to determine validity of use in accordance with local regulations.

It would, probably, also help if you could list the currency status of installed maps. I know you also have that available in the Chart menu, but having it on the front page in clear type that all installed charts are current would definitely help.

Greetings, -- Chris.
RobinHood
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A really good proposal!
It would be great to see during startup "charts are current" or "last chart update on ..." (I guess to remember Jeppesen Flitemap to have such a notification, not?)

Best regards,
Robin Seidelmann

secosu | Consulting & Support
Experts for ERP-Evaluation & ERP-Implementation projects in Europe


Edited 5/12/2014 2:25:06 PM by RobinHood
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